Electrical & Communication Specialists FAQs

Electrical & Communication Specialists gets several frequently asked questions from our customers. By sharing them with you, we hope to answer some of your own questions. If you do not see an answer here you are looking for, please contact us and we will answer your specific question.

What do I do when there is no power to outside, bathroom, or kitchen outlets?

Outside/bathroom and kitchen outlets are required to be protected by a GFCI circuit breaker or receptacle. If you have already looked for a tripped circuit breaker and they appear to be okay, look for a receptacle with a test and reset button in the center. There could be several around your home but typically the one for the outside outlets would either be outside, in the garage or by the electrical panel. You can test it by pressing the test button and then it should click and the reset button should pop out. You can then reset it by pressing the reset button. If you have done all of this and are still having a problem you will need to contact us or your current electrician.

I have switches at multiple locations, but I can only turn my lights on if they are in a certain position. Shouldn’t I be able to turn the lights on or off from any of the location?

Yes you should be able to control the light on or off from any of the locations. Typically, this indicates improper wiring of a 3way or 4way switch in the circuit. If you have changed any of the switches recently you should check those first especially if it worked prior to the change.

What is the correct way to terminate a Cat5e cable in a RJ45 Connector?

Looking from the back of the connector with the tip facing away from you the pin out from left to right is as follows for the type “B” Configuration: white/w orange stripe, orange, white w/green stripe, blue, white/w blue stripe, green, white w/brown stripe, brown. For an “A” configuration reverse both orange conductors with the green conductors.

Where do I need to use Tamper Resistant receptacles?

The 2011 NEC requires Tamper Resistant receptacles in all residential locations. This applies to replacements as well. They are also required in Guest Rooms and Suites of Hotels and in Child Care Facilities where all 125volt 15-20A non locking receptacles are located. Areas that tamper resistant receptacles are not required are as follows: 1) receptacle outlets above 5’6” AFF(Above Finished Floor). 2) Receptacles that are part of a luminare or appliance. 3) A Single or Duplex receptacle for two appliances located within dedicated space for each appliance that, in normal use, is not easily moved from one place to another and that is cord and plug connected in accordance with article 400 for cord uses permitted. 4) Non grounding receptacles used for replacements as permitted in 406.4(D)(2)(a).

What should I use for my TV/Telephone and Data Wiring?

We ALWAYS recommend using at least Category5e wiring for both telephone and data wiring. Even if you are not using phones in your house you should install at least one cat5e to every bedroom and living room. It is useful for many applications that you may need in the future. We recommend using at least RG6 cable for TV locations, if you are going to be using satellite dish then they recommend using RG6Quad Shield cable. If you are using satellite cable we do recommend a second RG6Quad Shield to the main TV locations for potential back feeding of other TV’s in the home.

What size wire do I need for my project?

First you have to determine the circuit amperage required and then select the proper wire based on the most current version of the National Electrical Code. Below are some circuit and wire sizes:

  • 15A Circuit= 14AWG Copper NMB (Romex)
  • 20A Circuit= 12AWG Copper NMB
  • 30A Circuit= 10AWG Copper NMB
  • 40A Circuit= 8AWG Copper NMB
  • 50A Circuit= 6AWG Copper NMB

Below are some common household appliances and the wire required for each one:

  • Electric Range= 40Amps 120/240V (Wire needed- 8/3NMB)
  • Electric Dryer= 30Amps (Wire needed- 10/3NMB)
  • Air Conditioner= Sizes vary(consult your electrician)
  • Bathroom Receptacle= 20A 120V (Wire needed- 12/2NMB)
  • Kitchen Counter Receptacles= 20A 120V (Wire needed- 12/2NMB)
  • General Purpose Receptacles= 15A 120V (Wire needed- 14/2NMB)

Where are GFCI receptacles required in my home?

GFCI receptacles are currently required in the following locations in the home:

  • All bathrooms
  • Garages
  • Kitchen Counters
  • Outside
  • Any receptacle within 6’ of a sink
  • Crawl Spaces
  • Unfinished basements(including utility areas and special appliances such as sump pumps) NOTE: There are now GFCI receptacles with a buzzer to notify you if the GFCI has tripped-they are great for sump pumps, extra freezers or other important appliances

Where are smoke detectors required?

Smoke detectors are required in all bedrooms and you are required to have one on each floor of the home.

Where are Carbon Monoxide(CO) Detectors required?

CO Detectors are required within 10’ of all sleeping rooms. Note: There are smoke/co combination detectors to serve dual purpose in the hallways outside of the bedroom areas.

How often should I replace my smoke and carbon monoxide detectors?

Older detectors recommended replacement after 10years but most new detectors are recommending new detectors every 7 years, which makes sense due to the changes in technology and the increased quality of the sensors within the devices.